Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Born to Read

Author                                :  Judy Sierra 
Illustrations by                    :  Marc Brown
Age range recommended  :  3 - 8 years
Theme                               :  Love for books, learning, babies

Opening lines –  
In the town of Sunny Skies, 
A tiny baby blinked his eyes 
At dragons dancing overhead
And letters painted on his bed.

“That’s me!” he thought. “My name is Sam. 
I’m born to read. I know I am. 

Sam flashed his mom a hopeful book. 
She opened up a picture book,
Then another,
Then another,
Then another,
Then another.

Such a perfect, patient mother!

Introduction and Synopsis –
A baby boy named Sam is born who is introduced to the wondrous word of books by his mother. He develops a love for books slowly and increasingly and becomes a reading star. He helps with the family chores by reading instructions, he uses the dictionary to diagnose his illnesses and even takes part and wins a cycling race by educating himself on fitness, diet and concentration. He reads at every given opportunity – everywhere, anywhere.

A baby giant, Grundaloon, terrorizes the town, throwing people in a quandary.  Sam decides to do something about it; he packs snacks and lots of picture books and sets off to meet him. Kindness, friendship and sharing his love for books does the trick – lonely baby giant is restored back to his mommy giant and Sam returns home a hero. Everyone agrees – Readers can do anything!

Why did my caterpillar and I like this book?
ME -
We picked up this book after it was suggested at an online book challenge last month. Read about it here.

Brilliant book! The last page, where the reader is left contemplating on what will Sam grow up to be – ( baseball player, chiropractor, statistician, city mayor) tries to drive home the idea that readers can accomplish anything. Finishing off with the possibility that he might be an astro-vet with offices in outer space is just the perfect end to this winning book. 

Simple to read text with rhymes and colourful illustrations are the highlight of this book. The young reader/listener is introduced to a number of new words – 
Sam read books on – 
muscle action,
getting traction,

good nutrition,
grand ambition
playing fair,
and bike repair.

Children would love to look at the illustrations - the artist has done a great job with cartoon-like characters, lots of writing everywhere – the polka dot motifs make you want to touch and feel the texture (its not a touchy-feely book). The illustrations go a long way in putting across the message of the boy’s love for books in the young minds. Lots of favourite books also make their appearance in pictures (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Cat in the Hat). 

The book is well-intentioned, no doubt about that. Some parents might think that the message comes a bit forced and situations like correcting the doctor’s diagnosis seem far-fetched and unimaginable. Not putting pictures about the boy training well for the race but just reading books extensively on them, (directly shown as the reason he wins the race), is also something that did not augur well with me. In fact, the story of the fantasy giant did not seem as absurd as this. I’d have liked it much more if the message on reading was put across in the story rather than the words popping at you, almost forcibly. And what was that about reading books in the bath-tub, while playing basketball...? Huh?

There is very little about this book that A did not connect well with. She loved it. The illustrations are lovely and there is a lot that she could identify with, being a bit of a bookworm herself. She loves to read all the time and it is her favourite thing to do. She even loved the lonely baby giant and was thrilled that Sam helped him change for the better with care and love. Though,  she did wonder how Sam's mom allowed him to read in the bathtub and at the mall!  

Online link -
We couldn’t find any online video link to this book. But we learnt that there is another book by the same author-illustrator team, ‘Wild about Books’ which is another brilliant one on the same topic. We would like to look at that book soon. 

The cocoon rates it -


Your baby would love it. That is one primary reason I recommend this book. It celebrates reading and reinforces its importance. ‘Readers win and winners read’ is indeed a powerful message – because reading really can help you. The message does seem to come across as too strong, yet I would not put that as a reason to not introduce the book to your child - just don’t push the book/idea down too hard to inculcate the love for books. 


  1. Looks like the reading bug has hit akshata hugely..u must be glad!!

  2. Very nice Rama!! Good na A is also born to read !!!!! Keep the blogs coming.. We get to know about more books...

  3. Sounds wonderful! Good going A and mommy! :-)

  4. So glad to have found your blog on the A - Z challenge :). I'm an early childhood educator so recommended books are always welcome :)

  5. Shonae, thank you! I hope you find the blog useful for your work! :-)

  6. It's great when children are addicted to books ... a wonderful habit :-)

    1. Yes, indeed! :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I'm very excited to find your blog, as I have two little grandkids, just-turned-four, and just-turned-three. I really like your detailed reviews and recommendations.

    1. Thanks Donna! I'm glad the blog is of use to you :-)

  8. I love the concept of this book: you can do anything with reading. Might encourage my girls to have a little more determination as they learn to read.

  9. Go for it, Mary!
    Thanks for stopping by! :-)

  10. Just love this book. I have been on the hunt for this one for a long long time ..